Favorite fairies

Shakespeare gave us Oberon and Titania. J.M. Barrie gave us Tinkerbell. Jim Butcher gave us Toot-Toot. John Keats provided La Belle Dame sans Merci, and Seanan McGuire introduced us to the folks of the Shadowed Hills.Image used with permission http://oramoon.com

High fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance and even horror love to play around with the realm of faerie.

Which is your favorite version of the realm of faerie, and/or who is your favorite fairy?

When I wrote this question, I didn’t think I had a favorite depiction. Then I remembered the terrifying fairies in Robert Jackson Bennett’s book The Troupe, with their eerily perfect masks, so I’m putting that one up as mine.

What’s yours?


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MARION DEEDS, with us since March 2011, is retired from a 35-year career with county government, where she met enough interesting characters and heard enough zany stories to inspire at least two trilogies’ worth of fantasy fiction. Currently she spends part of her time working at a local used bookstore. She is an aspiring writer herself and, in the 1990s, had short fiction published in small magazines like Night Terrors, Aberrations, and in the cross-genre anthology The Magic Within. On her blog Deeds & Words, she reviews many types of books and follows developments in food policy and other topics.

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14 comments

  1. I love this question. There’s a faerie/fairy/fae/phaerie/so-many-spellings for everyone right?

    My favourite has to be Puck. The ultimate trickster, and my introduction to fairies beyond cute little side-kicks (sorry Tinkerbell). I can’t get enough of the different takes on fairies, and Puck is why (for me).

    • Puck/Robin Goodfellow is a great example! Mischievous but not trivial; powerful and loyal to his king. A great example!

  2. My favorite is Susanna Clarke’s version from Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell,and the Ladies of Grace Adieu. They are appropriately “other”–which means lovely, alien, and amoral. But it’s not just what they are; it’s the way Clarke writes about them. Something about the Georgian/Victorian voice she has co-opted puts enough distance and magic between me and the fairies she presents. The phrase “the gentleman with the thistledown hair” communicates so much about that particular fairy, about how I’m supposed to feel about him, and about the world in general. (And I love the Raven King.)

  3. Right-brain: Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones. I love, and am simultaneously spooked by, the idea that fairies could just be walking around among us, going unnoticed because they mess with our minds when we find out too much, and don’t always make logical sense but make a kind of poetic sense in what they do.

    Left-brain: War for the Oaks by Emma Bull. I remember this book, in large part, for making all those weird rules about fairies make sense.

    Mind you, I haven’t read either of these books in years. Rereads might be in order. And I dearly love Seanan McGuire, who IMO is doing the best job of bringing all that folklore into urban fantasy.

  4. April /

    Kelly – I agree with your take on Seanan’s UF.

    My favorite faerie would have to be Magpie Windwitch from Laini Taylor’s Blackbringer. I love that we get the faerie point of view and see things just that much differently than we might normally do. Plus she’s super feisty. I’m all about the feisty!

  5. I remember loving the fairy realm in Jack Vance’s LYONESSE trilogy. A re-read is needed.

  6. susan emans /

    As soon as I saw this posted on Facebook, I thought Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series… which is on my bookshelf next to Emma Bull’s War for the Oaks, which was my second thought. I am pleased to see others feel the same way. I will mention Patricia Briggs’s Fae who are out to the world and angry. Karen Chance’s Fae come in beautiful and ugly, dark and light, and thoroughly snarky.

  7. i’d second Susanna Clarke’s. And also Tolkien’s Smith of Wooton Major

  8. RedEyedGhost /

    I love fae stories. Stina Leicht’s The Fey and the Fallen are fantastic, and I eagerly await news of the final book.

    Jeffrey Ford’s The Annals of Eelin-Ok is a wonderful short story, and that might be my favorite fairy realm.

    Susanna Clarke of course – I’m really looking forward to the upcoming adaptation.

    Graham Joyce was probably the author of my two favorite fairy stories though – Some Kind of Fairy Tale and my personal favorite The Tooth Fairy.

    Looking over my LibraryThing account, I can’t fail to mention Eowyn Ivey’s The Snow Child and Martin Millar’s The Good Fairies of New York.

  9. I’m giving general reminders on Giveaways; we announce our winners in the Comments section of the Giveaway post. Don’t forget to check the Notify Me box!

  10. Melanie Goldmund /

    I haven’t read many stories that feature faeries, so by default, my favourites are in Susanna Clarke’s book Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell.

  11. Ron Callahan /

    I can’t say I’ve read many stories featuring the Fae, although several definitely come to mind. My favorite however is not a particular faerie, the first thing that came to mind, for me, was Patrick Rothfuss comparing the Fae with men.
    “I have heard people say that men and the Fae are as different as dogs and wolves. While this is an easy analogy, it is far from true. Wolves and dogs are only separated by a minor shade of blood. Both howl at night. If beaten, both will bite. No. Our people and theirs are as different as water and alcohol. In equal glasses they look the same. Both liquid. Both clear. Both wet, after a fashion. But one will burn, the other will not. This has nothing to do with temperament or timing. These two things behave differently because they are profoundly, fundamentally not the same.”

  12. Ron Callahan, if you live in the USA, you win a book of your choice from our stacks.
    Please contact me (Marion) with your choice and a US address. Happy reading!

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